Teens Volunteer their time with Seniors at Moldaw Residences

N. Peninsula Jewish Teen Foundation members gather in small groups to exchange ideas and knowledge with the senior residents of Moldaw.
N. Peninsula Jewish Teen Foundation members gather in small groups to exchange ideas and knowledge with the senior residents of Moldaw.

We can all learn a lot from seniors based on their past experiences and knowledge, and recently a group of high school students had the opportunity not only to learn from seniors but to share their own knowledge and experience as well. During a special intergenerational event with seniors at Moldaw Residences, the senior living community in Palo Alto on the Taube Koret Campus for Jewish Life, the North Peninsula Jewish Teen Foundation (NPJTF) members gathered for an afternoon of insight and entertainment as they spent time volunteering with Moldaw residents for a day of service.

“I had such a great time getting to know the seniors. It felt so good getting to learn and connect with the elders in our community,” said Jenna Pucel, NPJTF member and student of Sequoia High School. “They have been through so much and have valuable knowledge, I think we could have kept talking for five more hours and still not have covered everything. Their stories were so inspirational. It is comforting knowing that while they are helping us by sharing their knowledge, we are helping them by listening. Putting a smile on their faces was such a heartwarming experience.”

The Jewish Teen Foundations offer select groups of Bay Area Jewish teenagers the opportunity to explore Jewish values and ideas, develop leadership skills, as well as the opportunity to practice informed and directed philanthropy. With this in mind, collaborating with Moldaw residents made perfect sense. Teens who serve on one of the four Jewish Teen Foundations learn how to run their own non-profit foundations and to become strategic grant makers. Over the course of the school year, they learn about the overall grant-making process and how to become empowered leaders in society. This year, the N. Peninsula Jewish Teen Foundation chose to focus its efforts on supporting at-risk youth. During this recent event with Moldaw seniors, the teens had the chance to share their work and projects in Jewish philanthropy. They shared stories one-on-one and got into small groups with the seniors to ask them for fundraising advice and insight into helping at-risk youth. It was an engaging and worthwhile experience for all involved.

“The day of service was very meaningful to me because the seniors had so much wisdom to share about their experiences in philanthropy,” said Sophie Talcove-Berko, a NPJTF member and student of Hillsdale High School. “I was impressed by how much the seniors I met had done for their respective communities, and it inspired me to do even more for communities in need locally and globally."

The members of N. Peninsula Jewish Teen Foundation truly appreciated the personal level at which they were able to connect with the seniors of Moldaw. They also provided musical entertainment after their time of sharing and discussion together with a song they performed and an Israeli dance.

“I love seeing the smiles on the seniors' faces,” commented Danielle Hamer, Leadership Council member and Carlmont High School student. “It made me prouder than ever to participate in the amazing work of JTF.”

“It was such a special moment to see this group of students together with these seniors to share and learn from each other,” said Caroline Poland, director of N. Peninsula Jewish Teen Foundation. “It was uplifting to everyone involved, and we would love to partner again with Moldaw for this kind of beneficial volunteer opportunity next year as well.”

Miki Raver, Director of Lifestyle Services at Moldaw Residences, agreed this was a tremendous event that she hopes to help coordinate with NPJTF again in the future.



Moldaw Residences is an innovative senior living community located at the 8.5 acre Taube Koret Campus for Jewish Life, adjacent to the 130,000 square foot Oshman Family Jewish Community Center. As a continuing care retirement community (CCRC), Moldaw Residences enables older adults to age in place by providing independent living, assisted living and memory support. Opened in 2009, Moldaw Residences offers 193 maintenance free, spacious apartment homes and extensive social and cultural amenities. Affiliated with the Jewish Senior Living Group, it is open to all faiths, ethnicities, and racial background.  

For more information about Moldaw Residences of Palo Alto, visit www.moldaw.org or call (800) 873-9614.


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